Category Archives: Announcements

Villanelle Contest

This is a sweet opportunity for readers who also write poetry. You could win cash prizes in addition to the useful poetry anthology signed and inscribed by our esteemed judge Annie Finch. Check the contest guidelines.
Don’t wait. The deadline will arrive faster than you think. If you need inspiration, this article is here to jumpstart your imagination.


Mad Girl’s Love Song By Sylvia Plath – A Villanelle

The Literary Nest is now a poetry journal. To mark the new year and new beginnings, I am holding a Villanelle contest.

A villanelle is a form closer to my heart because of the song-like quality and repetition that resounds, emphasizing the claim that the poet wants to make. I’ve been partial to the lyrical poetry since it allows the mind to roam free and still be rooted in reality. In many cases, a villanelle can tell a story like narrative poetry does. Take, for example, Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.” True, that the reader has to imagine and fill in the details, but the story builds up to the graceful climax at the end.Similarly, “The House on the Hill” by Edwin Arlington Robinson tells a stark story that a reader can imagine. The tone and the carefully chosen refrains “They are all gone away.” and “There is nothing more to say.”  guide the reader to build a story. The graceful closing leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind about the gradual destruction of the people, the decay of the community, who lived there.

So, what story Plath’s “Mad Girl’s Love Song” tell? With its surreal, dreamlike tone and imagery of heaven and hell, the narrative is far from linear.  There is a story, however.  It’s the story of struggle in the narrator’s mind and the back and forth arguments that lead to the final resolution. During the internal discussion, the story of love and loss unfolds. It turns out that the narrator isn’t a ‘mad girl’ after all. It’s an often-repeated story of the betrayal of the narrator, presumably a young woman, by a deceitful lover. The narrator is left to wonder her sanity, hence the title. Through the waltz-like movements of the thoughts and the poetic lines, the dance of the internal struggle goes on.

The darkness descends when the narrator closes her eyes. The real world comes roaring back when she opens her eyes. The stars waltz in and out of her dreams. She dreams about the lover’s passionate wooing, and she equates it with God’s grace falling over her. As like every other love story, the lover goes away and has no intention of ever returning. “I grow old and forget your name.” She wonders if it was all in her mind. Did she make it all up? In some ways, she did make him up, made up all his desirable qualities because love is born and exists in one’s mind. The physical manifestation of love is not possible without the brain making up the narrative of love. In that realization, one thing is sure: the narrator is not a mad girl, but one who narrates an astute observation about the nature of love.

I hope, readers, that some of you are inspired to narrate your story through the villanelle form and submit. Who knows, you could possibly win. If you don’t remember Annie (as if that’s possible), read her poetry, her poetry textbooks, and join her online poetry groups to exchange information about form and meter. All that information can be found on her website.


Poetry and More Poetry

As we conclude the fifth year of publication and enter the sixth year, some big changes are taking place. The most significant change is that The Literary Nest will become a journal of poetry only. It took a lot of thought and discussion, but we concluded that it’s the right decision.

To launch of the inaugural issue will be dedicated to the poetic form Villanelle, and we are holding a fabulous contest with the cash prizes and guest judge none other than Annie Finch. Check the submission guidelines here.

National Poetry Month April 2019

Welcome to National Poetry Month.
What are you doing to celebrate this year? Are you reading poetry? Writing? Carrying a poem in your pocket to share with everyone you meet?  Attending poetry readings? Whatever you do, make it count for the sake of poetry. In my opinion, poetry and math keep the world from going insane in the turmoil of life and the world around you.

I am doing an innovative fundraiser for Tupelo Press.

“Rainbow arcs and honey-laced milk,
These are a few of the things I won’t seek”

But I do seek your support.

I am in a “marathon” this month with ten other poets, writing a poem every day, and raising funds for Tupelo Press. We invite family, friends, and colleagues to sponsor us (for instance at a per poem rate, for instance, $3/poem x 30 poems = $90). Every dollar you spend is a vote for my poetry, and for poetry in general!

Running an actual marathon might be a little easier than writing a poem every day, it turns out. You should try it, but in lieu of writing your own poems, you can read mine!

If you know me, you know I care about my work, and it is a big risk to put such fresh work on public display before I have a chance to edit, to perfect it, and hear a public opinion. I wasn’t sure I could do it. Some days I am still not. I need to hear from you, my family and friends, my own fan club! Can you take a little time to look at my poetry?

Tupelo Press is a prestigious non-profit press, for seventeen years their mission has been to publish new voices. They are giving my work some exposure, and bringing me into a community of over 350 alumni helping each other publish our work.

Today you have a chance to help one of the few, and one of the best non-profit independent publishers we have. To help them survive and continue to put more poets into print. Here is what you are supporting:

■ Independent literary publishers are mission-driven—they focus on publishing literature.
■ Independent literary publishers provide access to the voices of entire communities.
■ Independent literary publishers produce over 98% of poetry being published each year,
and the majority of literature in translation and works of fiction by emerging writers.

There are so many ways you can support the press. A subscription to fabulous books of poetry, sent to your home. A one-time donation at any level. I hope you consider supporting me, and supporting this amazing press I am representing this month.



Growing Pains

Dear Readers and contributors,

Thank you for your support these last four fabulous years. I can’t express my gratitude enough. As The Literary Nest enters the fifth year this April, we are experiencing some growing pains. This post addresses some of these issues.
It has been a long time since I communicated with you. To be frank, I have been swamped with reading submissions and website updates, not to mention personal projects. If you noticed, I haven’t had a chance to conduct poetry workshops in a year. Three of my fiction readers have moved on to their own priorities. In light of these facts, I am making some changes to the publishing schedule.

I am suspending fiction section until further notice.

There are two reasons for this decision.

  • In the last year, our fiction acceptance rate has been only about 20-30% of the total submissions received. We want character-driven fiction with rare insights into a character’s mind. We reject a lot of the work that is plot-driven with weak character development. Pacing and a lot of “telling and not enough showing ” are the other few issues we noticed. Also, the editors and readers are human with limited time on their hands, and if the story doesn’t capture attention in the first couple of pages, the likelihood of acceptance goes down.  To steer the submissions in the direction that we want, I will add links to some relevant articles in a month or so.
  • We simply do not have the bandwidth for the detailed edits to the stories.

The summer issue will be poetry only issue. I will revisit the decision of including fiction at that time.

The poetry workshops on hold until further notice.
Here’s an important note to the submitters.

I personally respond to all the submissions and send out acceptances and rejections before the issue arrives. I do not read and respond to the submissions that do not follow the guidelines. One obnoxious person sent submissions to multiple magazines without addressing any of the editors. If you feel that you followed the guidelines and didn’t hear from us, please send a polite inquiry. I am human and make mistakes, but I will always respond to a polite query.

That’s all for now. Thank you again for your support and stay tuned for the excitement of the National Poetry Month.

Music in Poetry

If you love to write poetry and you are like me, you love to write in formal meter but are not completely comfortable with the rigidity of the meter. Yet, I bet many of you speak and write in rhythm without even realizing it.  If you have ever recited Mother Goose rhymes, you recognize the swinging and swaying of the words.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Which words in this nursery rhyme did you emphasize? Did a pattern emerge?

How about these lines?

I feel the nights stretching away
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor.
Do you feel the similar swaying? “da-dum da-dum.”
This rhythm is Trochaic. A stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable.  Look through your poem(s). Can you make simple alterations to make your existing poem into a Trochaic one?
For a complete guide to meter and a step-by-step guide to scanning, check out Annice Finch’s blog post.
Do send us your poems for the upcoming issue.

Poems Wanted

For some strange reason, we are really in short supply of poetry for the summer issue. Please check our submission guidelines and submit. Please spread the word among other poets. We accept themes and non-themed submissions, so if you are stuck on the current theme “Shadow and Light,” don’t fret. Send us your best work before July 1st, 2018.

Poetry Wanted

Poetry Workshop – June 2018

Thank you for your overwhelming interest in our previous poetry workshop. I had to turn away many prospective participants.

Read what the previous participants have said about these workshops.

So by the popular demand here is the brand new poetry workshop.  If you have participated in my workshops before, wait for a follow-up workshop to be offered in future.

Dates: June 4-June 30.

Technical Requirements: A computer, email account,  internet access, and a PayPal account.

Every Monday, you will receive a warmup activity to prepare you for the week.
Every Tuesday, you will receive the lesson and a writing prompt.
You can send your poem for the week by Friday of the week.
On Monday beginning the second week, you will receive feedback on your poem along with the new warmup activity.

Fee:  $40.00 Donation to The Literary Nest. PayPal link provided upon registration.

Sounds good?
Sign up by sending an email to with “Poetry Workshop Signup” in the subject line.

Read what the previous participants have said about these workshops.